Transitions – Lots of Them

Transitions happen. Lots of them. Though I didn’t have a choice concerning the last chapter of losing Wyndham, I have certainly felt the Spirit’s urging and presence in moving forward to new chapters. Since that time, among other transitions, I sold my house of thirty-plus years, bought a new home in CT near my youngest daughter, retired from forty-seven years of full-time ministry, and began my doctorate program. While “ministering” is my lifelong lifestyle as an apprentice of Jesus that won’t change, life is different.


I have felt hugs from God throughout the transitions, though it has not always been easy. I find I must look for those hugs. For instance: When I put my house on the market, I felt sad. I would miss the park across the street from my house and my nearby “reservoir walk” a little over a mile away, among other things. However, the park by my old house is busier than I like, and I recently encountered a snake on the reservoir walk. Not a fan of snakes, I had postponed my walks there. God gave me a hug…with a house perfect for me in Connecticut, complete with a quiet park across the street where the gorgeous Riverwalk along the Connecticut River begins.  I pinch myself as I walk each day along the river and through town, amazed that God gave me such a beautiful, serene setting near water. I have met many new friends as I walk, many who have recently moved here, lost their husbands, and retired. This is no accident, I am sure. If this is not enough, there is a studio apartment on the property, perfect for Jacob.

The “new” park is quiet, except on one night a week when it becomes a music venue. Perfect!  And if that is not enough of a hug, as I go by the dock and dock house on the river each day, a lone goose greets me. This is particularly meaningful to me, as I wrote in one of my books about a lone goose that “adopted” my parents after losing its mate. Geese have a mate for life, and when they lose their mate they stay alone, sometimes attaching to a person for their new “mate.” Passing this lone goose each day just feels like a hug to me from God, and from Wyndham.

This past week I had the opportunity to teach on “the role of women in the church” at the European School of Missions in Switzerland. I was encouraged and inspired the current graduating class (after beginning 3 years ago) of the School of Missions and their new contributions to the churches in Europe. A few of these students I knew as preteens, so that was special.  It was wonderful to interact with the incoming class as well. It was so meaningful to be with old friends living in Europe…the Kings, LeNoans, Micha, and of course the McGuirks. It was also a treat to spend time with the Ayasses, who were there helping with their grandchildren during much of the time. It was especially inspiring to see the fruits of the love and labor of the young and “older” McGuirks in Paris, and also John and Rachel, who serve the church in Milan.

Teaching energizes me, as I feel it is a calling from God. It was meaningful and fun to teach with Joey Harris. It felt seamless, as we soon realized we had such  congruent interpretations and understandings of the topic. We taught on the subject for about ten hours, including sessions about ways to read and interpret scripture, the author’s style, presuppositions we bring to interpretation, the lenses through which we read (western culture vs. eastern culture, patriarchal culture, and our CoC and ICOC cultures), blinders to our lenses, cultures of Ephesus and Corinth, God’s parameters, transcending principles, specific verses on women in the scriptures, and essential attitudes of humility and unity. We included various group exercises and discussions throughout.

Joey taught for the next couple of days on Old Testament Survey and OT interpretation, which was all outstanding. Kudos to all the students who put their hearts and minds into days of learning in a language that is not their first one.  

My next stop for next week includes my first residency session for my doctoral program, where I meet my professors and cohort and also participate in a guided spiritual retreat. I am super excited to start and am eager to keep learning.

I have much to write about transitions; in fact, much of my research will stem from this topic. While it is good to be home, I am also grateful for so many memories from years past with Wyndham throughout Europe. It seemed fitting to leave some ashes in a river in the Alps. I include a few thoughts describing this time for me.

On the Bridge

We walked this stream before

Flowing waters toward tributaries form 

Crossing the bridge to the other side

Hands entwined, warm to warm


These hands hold memories

Carrying ashes, remnants of living

Now stilled by the cool hand of death

As waters below tease of life still giving


I stand on this bridge called hope

Connector of life and death that I know

While your ashes find life in the wind

Toward life-giving water, still sparkling below


Ashes give birth to life

As the river moves toward the sea

And the bridge, through the Spirit

It still connects you and me.

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  1. Katherine Hearn

    Thank you for all your years of serving in the full time ministry and for your wonderful teaching. You are such an encouraging woman of God and appreciate your example as a strong disciple in all periods of your life!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Katherine. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you.

  2. Carolyn Harrell

    Oh my, Jeanie, the poem. The goose made me tear up a bit and then the poem…but it’s consoling too. You remain a gifted writer and thinker and student. I love you.

  3. Jennifer Lambert

    I know writing is therapeutic for you Jeanie, as it is for me. Thank you for being so generous sharing your words as you process life’s transitions.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Jennifer. That means a lot. You continue in my prayers. Love you.

  4. Lapatic

    Hi-thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope. Blessings as you transition. In Him, Lapatic Francis, (friend of Jim and Barbara) Orlando

    Sent from my iPhone


    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks, Lapatic, That means a lot. Love, Jeanie

  5. Jenny Prince

    Thank you Jeanie for sharing about your transitions and new seasons in life. I was not always well prepared for new seasons whether difficult ( in and out of the ministry, children moving away and coming back, getting older) or lovely and joy filled ( grandchildren!). Thank you for being a spiritual guide through these changing times. I want to be that for others.

    • jeanieshaw

      Jenny, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, transitions surely test us and are hard. You have been through a lot. Sending much love, Jeanie

  6. Samenthur Blake


    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks, Sam. Love you very much.

  7. Ciprian Samson Cippi

    Beautiful message Jeanie, I am so happy for you and I know God will continue watch over you and while your travel and teach his word about the good news and how much it change you but also people like to who learn about the cross thanks to you and Wyndham I am forever grateful cause of hope and your love I learn about god loves is stronger then anything on this earth. Beautiful paragraph and looking forward to read the next journey.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks, Cippi. That means a lot. Sending much love.

  8. Emma LE NOAN

    Hello Jeanie, I love your post – I love your poem and all that you have written. It was great to see you in the Alps. I have decided to use “Wednesdays with Wyndham” once a week (on Wednesday of course) starting September 1st to meditate using the guided reflections for a chapter a time.
    With lots of love

    • jeanieshaw

      It was so special to see you, Emma. I always wish there was more time as I love and appreciate you so much. You gave so much so consistently at the camp. Thank you!!! That’s special about your Wednesdays. I hope they are meaningful for you. Thanks for sharing. I love you very much.

  9. Lori Seavey

    Absolutely love ALL of this. I smiled many times reading this and also felt my heart strings being pulled at the end. Thank you for sharing your heart with us through your talent of putting your heart on paper.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Lori. That means a lot. Love you.

  10. tammytaxterfleming

    So encouraging, to hear of all these gifts and hugs from God, especially for you! What a beautiful and true thought, that they are there, but maybe take some work to discover them. Every one you described is so precious, I loved reading this post, Jeanie! Thank you so much for sharing. And your poem at the end is just stellar. Spirit- inspired, so moving. Thank you for writing. Thank you for connecting. I love you.

  11. lizzylit

    So many changes! I’m happy to hear about all the new, promising things in your life… I’m sure it was so hard saying goodbye to your home, your church, and an era of your life… Praying God fills your new home with laughter and connection and happy memories with the people you love.

    Your poem is gorgeous. Just perfect.

    Lots of love, Elizabeth



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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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